Stand-In Saturday: (A standalone romcom. Book 2 in the Love For Days series)Kirsty Moseley
Copyright © 2020 by Kirsty Moseley
All rights reserved.
Visit my website at www.kirstymoseley.com
Cover Designer: Outlined With Love Designs
Editor and Interior Designer: Jovana Shirley, Unforeseen Editing, www.unforeseenediting.com
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
ISBN-13: 979 8681208334
For Dad. I miss you.
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You know that super-awkward bit in Love Actually where you find out Rick Grimes is in love with his best mate’s girl? Well, this is kind of like that, but worse because it’s not my best mate’s girl; it’s my twin brother’s fiancée.
Amy Clarke—object of my affection, girl of my dreams, and unfortunately for me, my brother’s fiancée—plops down beside me on the sofa and steals the TV remote from my hand, instantly starting to channel surf through the Saturday night so-called prime-time TV.
“So, what have you been bingeing lately? Anything I need to add to my watch list?” she asks, eyeing me quizzically.
I shrug and take a swig of my beer. “Nothing noteworthy. I’ve been working a lot the last couple of days. I’m behind on my deadline.”
“Oh, Theo, again? Do you just like to leave it to the last minute or what?”
“I do my best work at the eleventh hour.”
As she’s sitting so close, the sweet smell of her perfume wafts over me and the heat of her body presses into my side. I swallow and scowl at the TV, trying not to admit to myself that I love being this close to her. I know feeling like this about my brother’s fiancée makes me a scumbag, but I can’t help myself. You see, she should’ve been mine. I bloody well saw her first. Admittedly, I should have called dibs … but I was too chicken to ask her out. Now, look, two years later, she’s marrying my twin brother, and I’m left sitting on their plush sofa in their classy and elegant apartment, wishing things were different and pretending like I’m not cut up about it and jealous as hell. Tragic really.
Amy shifts and tucks her legs up under her bum, and I turn my head slightly, so I can see her properly. Pale candyfloss-pink hair falls in loose waves around her cute face, her full lips are slick with nude gloss, and her sea-in-paradise-blue eyes are lined with a perfect cat-like flick of black eyeliner at each corner. Amy is that adorable, eccentric type of quirky girl that doesn’t know how amazing she is. She also has no idea I’m crazy about her.
Sighing dramatically, she tosses the remote back into my lap after not finding anything decent to watch while we wait for everyone else to arrive for our big night out.
“Jared and I have been watching The Witcher this week. Trouble is, he keeps working late, so we only get time to watch one per night. Not skipping ahead without him is torture!”
I silently wonder if I’ll ever meet a girl I like enough that I’d be willing to wait patiently to watch Netflix episodes with. My guess, no.
Maybe if I’d been brave enough to just ask Amy out at the start …
I frown down at my beer bottle, absentmindedly picking the corner of the label with my thumbnail. “What do you think would have happened if I’d got my shit together and asked you out at the start when we first met on that train?” The question bursts from my lips before I can stop it. Probably due to the fact that this is already my third alcoholic beverage, and it’s barely seven o’clock. My brain-to-mouth filter is a little more lenient than it should be. The question is something that keeps me awake at nights.
Amy purses her lips and cocks her head to the side. I turn my head towards her and watch her think about what it would have been like to date me. I like her thinking about it. I truly am demented.
Her eyes meet mine, and a playful smile tugs at the corners of her lips. “My guess is, we would have got on brilliantly. We’re so similar; we would have been laughing all night, and we’d have had a great time together. Things would have ticked along nicely, and we’d have had a blast. Then, at some point in our relationship, you’d have taken me home to meet your family, and there, I’d have clapped eyes on your brother and swooned over his broody face and inquisitive eyes. Maybe we’d have got drunk at a party or something, where Jared would have told me some nerdy math thing about his job, and I’d have been a goner while he talked about equations and algorithms. Of course, I’d have felt absolutely awful about it as I broke your heart after realising that Jared was meant to be mine, not you.” She reaches out and pats my arm, offering mock support for the metaphorical heartbreak she would have caused. “You would have just been a path to me meeting your brother. Sorry, Theo.”
But I knew her answer before she said it. I’ve always known the answer. Amy and Jared are perfect for each other. Me, on the other hand, maybe I’m destined to be alone because there can’t be two girls out there as great as Amy, surely.
I nod along sadly. “Guess it’s lucky I didn’t then. Imagine if you’d shagged us both and had to live with the knowledge you’d let the brother go who was better in bed. You’d have been devastated and lusting after me at every opportunity. Talk about awkward,” I joke, trying to pretend like her hypothetical rejection didn’t feel like a punch to the solar plexus.
She laughs and slaps my arm as she rolls her eyes. “You wish.”
I’m saved from answering as the front door opens, and in walks Heather and her husband, Tim. They’re Amy’s best friends. I grin and offer a salute with my bottle by way of greeting as they let themselves into Amy’s apartment like they own the place. To be fair, we all do it. We’re round here a lot, hanging out, so things like the common courtesy of a call or knock before letting yourself in are a non-existent thought.
Amy pushes herself off the sofa and whistles appreciatively as she looks at Heather. “Damn. You look fit!”
Heather grins, running her hands down her figure-hugging black dress, smoothing the skirt against her thighs. And I have to admit, she does. Tim watches his wife with the self-satisfied, confident air of a guy who knows he’s punching way above his weight. But they’re honestly a great couple, and since they tied the knot just over a year ago, they’ve been walking around in a blissed-out bubble that makes us single folk nauseous.
Glancing over at Tim, who’s wearing smart suit trousers and a baby-blue button-down shirt, I realise I’ve made a glaring error with my choice of
attire for tonight’s drinking session.
“Damn it. Were we supposed to dress up? I thought we were just going to the pub for a few cheeky drinks and then a drunken pizza on the way home,” I groan, grimacing down at my worn jeans and faded Jurassic Park T-shirt.
Resigned, I push myself up from the sofa. “I’m going to the bathroom,” I lie.
Without asking permission, I bypass the bathroom and instead head to Jared and Amy’s bedroom. Jared and I are twins. We shared a womb, so borrowing his clothes is my God-given birthright.
As I stalk to the wardrobe, I toe off my trainers and rip open the buttons of my Levi’s. My gaze wanders over Jared’s rows of expensive designer suits, all in their separate garment bags. There’s a clear window at the front of each, so you can see what’s inside without opening them—all the fancy stuff for my brother. I select a dark grey Tom Ford and unzip the bag, shimmying my jeans off before yanking the new outfit on. I ignore his shirts; a T-shirt with a suit is much more my style.
A quick glance in the mirror as I shove my shoes on, and what I see makes me give an appreciative nod. I look good. My light-brown hair is styled, though it is slightly longer than normal, so it flops a little. It looks deliberate though, so I’ll allow it. Jared pays a fortune to get his suits tailored to fit his athletic, lithe, six-foot-two frame, so since we’re pretty much identical (at least physically), they look perfect on me too. It fits in all the right places to show off what’s underneath without actually showing anything at all. Smart and professional, but with the T-shirt and trainers, a little bit of fun and me peeking through.
Just as I’m fussing with my hair again and reaching for Jared’s aftershave, Amy walks in.
“Um, ever heard of knocking?” I joke, chuckling.
“This is my bedroom!” she scoffs before raising one eyebrow. “Does he know you’re borrowing that?”
I shrug one shoulder, uncaring. “He always knows. He just has the sense not to bother trying to stop me anymore.”
Amy playfully tsks her tongue. “You’ll be thirty next month, Theo. You really should buy your own.” She crosses the room, walking over to her dressing table. She picks up her bangles, sliding them on as we make eye contact in the mirror.
“Nah. Why buy my own tailored suits when I can wear my body double’s?” I reply. “Plus, I only need them for one day every two weeks when I meet my publisher. It’s not like I need them every day like he does. He has so damn many; he doesn’t even miss them anyway.” I gesture at the rack of my twin brother’s expensive designer suits in example. “Means I’ll be able to borrow this for my meeting Monday, too, and then he can have it back.” I throw her a disarming, hopefully charming smile.
She chuckles and shrugs in response, reaching for a pair of diamond stud earrings, carefully putting them in. She knows what I’m like. I don’t know why we’re bothering to have this conversation.
“If you wear it tonight to go out in, won’t it smell of stale beer, doner kebab, and shame come Monday?”
I turn to her and offer a winning grin. “I’ll Febreze it.”
She rolls her eyes and picks up her handbag, shoving a tube of lip gloss and some mints inside. Without my permission, my eyes glide over her as she bends to tie up her ankle-high silver Converse. She’s wearing black shorts that come to the top of her thighs with a pair of black tights underneath, which have some sort of shimmery silver thread in them, and a fitted pink T-shirt with a V-neck that makes my upper lip sweaty. I force my hands into my pockets and blink, trying to control my attraction to her before tearing my eyes from her arse.
Bad, Theo. Bad.
“What time is Jared due back from his conference?” I ask.
She straightens and pushes her curls behind one ear. “Any minute now.”
As if on cue, the front door opens and closes, and a grin stretches across Amy’s face as we hear Jared’s voice float in from the living room. The squeal of delight that leaves Amy’s mouth feels like a punch in the dick.
She darts from the room, and I follow slowly behind, watching as my mirror image drops his overnight bag and turns towards her; his grin matches hers as she leaps into his arms without giving him time to compose himself.
Jared staggers back half a step as he catches her and laughs, his lips immediately crashing against hers. Her legs are around his waist, arms tight around his neck; one of his hands is on her arse, and the other is fisted in her hair while they practically devour each other as if they hadn’t seen each other in months instead of just the one damn day Jared had to go on a course for.
There are figurative sparks. Their lust hangs in the air like a silent fart that everybody smells and finds distasteful but is too polite to acknowledge.
I lean against the doorframe and watch them, my mind whirring. The thing is, as much as I’m crazy about Amy, deep down, I know she’s better off with him. She and I never would have lasted. If we’d got together at the start, she’s right; she would have fallen for Jared regardless. They’re inevitable.
They’re perfect for each other. He completes her, and I’ve never seen my twin happier than when he’s with her. When he smiles down at her and his eyes twinkle with joy, I can’t even begrudge him having her. Jared is great, an amazing brother and my best friend. He’s a thoroughly decent bloke, and I would do anything for him. He deserves her and to be as happy as she makes him.
But knowing all that doesn’t douse my jealousy in the slightest. All my life, I’ve never been envious of Jared for anything, not the high-paying job he has or the flashy car, not the expensive suits or the nice apartment, or the fact that it seems he was born with his shit together. Nope. I’ve never coveted anything my brother has … until her.
Tim rolls his eyes before pretending to stick his finger down his throat and gag. “You know, people pay good money to watch this kind of stuff online.”
“If you’re paying for it, you’re looking in the wrong places. Plenty of freebies out there if you know where to look. I can hook you up with some links if you need it,” I reply, winking at him as I head to the kitchen and help myself to another beer.
Tim laughs, his hand sliding across Heather’s back as he sends me a knowing grin. “We don’t need it. Thanks though.”
“Smug git.” I roll my eyes.
Jared and Amy are having a quiet conversation with their foreheads pressed together, staring into each other’s eyes. She’s still attached to his front like a new appendage.
I flop down on the sofa and pretend to watch TV. “How’s work going?” I ask Tim as Amy finally detaches herself from my brother.
Jared slaps me on the shoulder in greeting. “I’ll be five minutes; I just need to change, and then we can go meet everyone else.”
I nod in acknowledgement.
Tim blows out a big breath. “Man, work’s busy. I can’t wait for next weekend, so I can have a whole weekend off! It’s gonna be lit!”
Heather laughs. “Lit? Are you trying to pretend to be younger than you are again?”
I grin. “Is there something happening next weekend?”
A sharp slap to the back of my head makes me wince and chuckle at the same time.
“Only the wedding of the century,” Amy chirps excitedly, grinning at the thought of her impending nuptials.
“Oh, is that all?” As if I could really forget!
Secretly, I’m dreading it. My grand master plan is to get drunk—so drunk that I can look back in years to come and not remember a bloody second of it.
“You have a plus-one, by the way. You said you’d be bringing someone,” Amy continues, sternly looking at me.
I roll my eyes. “I will. I’m not a savage.”
“Well, do we get to know her name yet or what? We need it for table plans and name cards.” She leans over and grabs the bowl of peanuts from the coffee table, taking a handful and stuffing them in her mouth before offering the dish to me.
I shrug and
reach out, taking a handful too. “Not likely. I don’t know her name yet. I’ll let you know when I do.” I shoot her a grin.
“You’re such a dog!” Heather jokes, laughing, sticking her tongue out at me.
I laugh good-naturedly.
I’m not a dog though. I’m just not a monk either. Despite being trapped in my one-sided, unrequited, awkward crush scenario, I still date. Hell, I’m a guy. If I’m not thinking about work, football, or food, I’m thinking about sex. I still have needs, and sometimes, my right hand just doesn’t cut it. I’ll be honest; I’m always on the lookout for someone to blow my mind, someone to take my mind off Amy and make me feel less shitty inside. So far though … bupkis. I haven’t found anyone who holds my attention for longer than a few dates.
“I can set you up with someone if you want,” Tim offers, sipping at his beer. “There are a couple of cute nurses I work with I could introduce you to.” He flinches as his wife reaches over and tweaks his nipple through his shirt. “Ouch, babe. What was that for?” he asks her, wincing as he rubs at his chest.
Her eyes narrow. “Cute nurses?”
Tim scoffs and waves at me. “For Theo! Why would I need to look at any other woman when I have you, waiting for me at home, all perfect and feisty?”
That seems to have been the right thing to say because she softens and snuggles at his side, reaching out to rub at his sore nipple too.
“Cheers, mate. I’ll keep it in mind,” I reply. “Maybe I’ll meet someone tonight; you never know.”
Amy smiles brightly. She likes the idea of me meeting someone; she’s one of those girls who is happy when other people are happy, resulting in her playing matchmaker for me several disastrous times in the last few months.
Jared walks back into the room then—dressed in shiny black shoes, perfectly pressed trousers, and a white shirt—and he makes me glad I decided to change and steal one of his suits.
“What are we talking about?” He takes the beer bottle from my hand and drains the last half in one go while I frown at him in indignation.